Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.

Jazzin'
By Martin Z. Kasdan Jr.

PRELUDE:RIP CLAUDE NOBS

If you have enjoyed any of the live from Montreux recordings ranging stylistically from Ella Fitzgerald to Santana, Count Basie to electric Miles Davis, then you should thank festival producer Claude Nobs. He paired eclectic booking paired with the foresight to record such legendary performers. He passed away last month, unexpectedly, after a skiing accident, at the age of 76.

RECENT CONCERTS

Your Friendly Neighborhood Big Band at Dreamland

The Louisville Film Society continues to reach out to jazz fans. It is presenting a monthly series of silent films from Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, with live music. The first offering showcased the talent of Your Friendly Neighborhood Big Band , led by drummer Joe Dunn. He had clearly rehearsed, as the band did not just play randomly, but truly added to the visual experience with music ranging from early jazz to swing. Just before the lights came up, the band moved into more contemporary territory, including a few choruses from Rahsaan Roland Kirk's "Pedal Up," a tune Dunn said he had always liked. Dunn said after the event that he had been presenting the group at the Nachbar, had taken some time off over the holidays and plans to resume soon. Both the band and the film society have their own Facebook pages, on which you can find updates as to their respective events.

Bobby Falk CD Release Party at Louisville Musicians Union Hall

Bobby Falk closed out 2012 with the release of his second album, Samuel Street Songs, and threw a party to celebrate on Sunday, December 30, at the Louisville Musicians Union Hall. The performance space was packed with family, friends, students and staff from the School for the Blind (where Falk teaches), and many musicians. Onstage, the personnel was Falk on drums, Luke Barker (tenor sax), Graeme Gardiner (alto sax), Brian Koning (trumpet and fluegelhorn), John Arstingstall (guitars), Wade Honey (keyboards), and Lee Puckett (bass). The musicians presented themselves well visually as well as musically, with all clad in dark suits and ties.

Through both sets, Falk varied the lineup, with one or more horns or guitar sitting out. Early on, he played a rousing version of what has become his theme song, "Ballad for Serenity." The title track to the new disc came later in the first set, featuring melodic soloing by Koning and Gardiner. The audience reacted positively to the announcement of Steely Dan's "Kid Charlemagne" and cheered loudly at its conclusion. A highlight of the second set was a new piece, "Sundown Dance," with an Afro-Cuban beat and hot trumpet solo. The band sustained a mellow groove for another Falk original, "Turning the Tables," the title track from his first release, and sent te audience home with a fast 'n' funky new arrangement of "Auld Lang Syne." It's always a pleasure to hear Falk and especially so in an environment conducive to experiencing live music as the focus, rather than as background. The CD is available locally at Falk's weekend gigs at Eddie Merlot's, Better Days, Music-Go-Round, Falk Audio (TNT Productions), and online at cdbaby and bandcamp.

502 Vintage Keys with Tyrone Wheeler at the Rud

The Louisville Jazz Society kicked off its 2013 Concert Series on Sunday, January 13, at the Rudyard Kipling, with music by 502 Vintage Keys, featuring Tyrone Wheeler on bass, Hunt Butler on sax, Scott Anthony on keyboard, and Theo Richardson on drums. I arrived during Marcus Miller's "Panther," on which Wheeler was popping strings in fine fashion. Richardson's drumming on Joe Henderson's "Afro-Centric was driving and funky, yet not overpowering. Anthony built an intense solo on Herbie Hancock's "Butterfly." Butler switched between soprano and tenor saxophones during the two sets, playing subtly on Wayne Shorter's "Ana Maria" and burning hot on Jaco Pastorius' "Havona." All told, this band was having fun playing the funk and fusion (not fuzak) of the 70's, and it was a treat to watch Wheeler stretch out on electric bass.

ON THE HORIZON

Jamey Aebersold at the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library

The Jamey Aebersold Quartet, with Steve Allee on piano, Tyrone Wheeler on bass, and Jonathan Higgins on the drums, performs Tuesday February 5, 2013, from 7-8 p.m., in the Strassweg Auditorium of the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library, 180 West Spring Street, www.nafclibrary.org.

Jeff Coffin Mu'tet at U of L and Coffin at the Kentucky Center

Saxophonist Jeff Coffin & the Mu'tet, consisting of Felix Pastorius on bass (Jaco's son), Bill Fanning on trumpet/space trumpet, Chris Walters on keys and guest Roy "Futureman" Wooten on drums, performs at Bird Recital Hall at the University of Louisville, on Wednesday, February 6th. The band will present a clinic at 5:00pm and a concert at 7:30pm. More information may be found at http://louisville.edu/music/degrees/undergraduate/jazz/jazz-studies-program.html. The following morning, Coffin is set to perform at the Kentucky Center on February 7, as part of the Kentucky Music Educators Association conference as guest artist with UK Jazz Ensemble. More information at http://www.kentuckycenter.org

Peter Brötzmann Documentary at Louisville Film Society

Dreamland Theater of the Louisville Film Society presents a documentary about European jazz saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, Peter Brötzmann: Soldier of the Road. Astro Black will be sponsoring two showings on February 15, at 8 and 10 p.m.. From the press release: "Brotzmann has been one of the leading figures in improvised music for the last half century and continues to be a vital (and thunderous) force on the perpetually moving frontier of art and sound." www.soldieroftheroad.com The theater is at 810 E. Market; the Society's homepage is www.louisvillefilmsociety.org.

U of L Jazz Festival

The following concerts are scheduled for the 3-day festival at the University of Louisville, February 22-24: Amina Figarova Sextet , Friday; Dick Oatts and Joe Magnarelli , Saturday; and Zach Brock/Aaron Goldberg Project , Sunday. I was blown away by pianist/composer Amina Figarova's Sextet at New Orleans Jazzfest this past spring. Saxophonist Oatts has been featured with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, as well as leading his own ensembles, while trumpeter Magnarelli is highly involved with teaching, and has several albums out on Criss Cross. Violinist Brock should need no introduction, and the opportunity to see him in a duo setting with pianist Goldberg, who was part of Brock's ensemble for his recent and excellent Almost Never Was (also on Criss Cross), is special. This disc made the Chicago Tribune's Top 10 Jazz list for 2012. Ticket information and more on the artists is available by phone (502-852-6907), and online at http://louisville.edu/music/degrees/undergraduate/jazz/events/university-of-louisville-jazz-festival-2013.html.

Red Baraat at Headliners

Last April Red Baraat brought the usually staid audience at the Kentucky Center to the floor of the Bomhard. This time, you can check out the infectious rhythms of India with a New Orleans brass band influence, with more room to dance, in the larger space of Headliners, 1386 Lexington Rd. Red Baraat plays Wednesday, February 27; at deadline time, no opening acts had been announced. More information at http://headlinerslouisville.com.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

This year's Jazzfest happens from April 26 through May 5. Daily lineups and ticket information is available at http://www.nojazzfest.com. Among the top jazz artists this year are the Wayne Shorter Quartet, the Joshua Redman Quartet, the Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra, Dianne Reeves , The Cookers (Billy Harper, Eddie Henderson, David Weiss, Craig Handy, George Cables, Cecil McBee, and Billy Hart), Stanley Clarke/George Duke Project , Preservation Hall Jazz Band , and that doesn't even scratch the surface of all the music, jazz and otherwise, being presented.

SELECTED CLUB AND OTHER LISTINGS

The Comedy Caravan , 1250 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40204, 502-459-0022 www.comedycaravan.com, has long been a venue for quality musical acts. The Don Krekel Orchestra has been performing the third Monday of each month, and is scheduled for February 18. Please contact the club for any post-deadline information.

The Nachbar (969 Charles Street, 502-637-4377, www.myspace.com/thenachbar) features Vamp (saxophonist Jacob Duncan, drummer Jason Tiemann and a revolving crew of bassists) every Wednesday not sure if this is still right, hard to find updated information, if any of you know how to get better info, drop me a line, please; check the club for updates or changes. The club also has a Facebook page with occasional updates.

The Jazz Kitchen (5377 N College Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46220; phone: 317-253-4900; www.thejazzkitchen.com), presents nightly offerings of local and regional jazz; check the website for the full schedule and updates. A road trip might be advised for Rahsaan Barber February 8; Red Baraat , February 26.

The Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati, is now at 700 Race St. (513-241-WISP). A road trip might be advised for February 1-2, Tony Monaco/Fareed Haque Organ Trio featuring Ted Sirota ; February 5, Donny McCaslin Quartet ; February 7, Jeff Coffin's Mu'tet , February 23, Amina Figarova Sextet ; March 1, Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo . Wednesdays remain the province of The Blue Wisp Big Band. For details and the full schedule, the website is: www.thebluewisp.com.

Please sign up for updated local jazz listings: The Louisville Jazz Society provides weekly e-mail updates for local jazz happenings. Be sure to sign up for the e-mail "Louisville Jazz Society's Jazz Insider" at www.louisvillejazz.org. It is both impossible for me to try to provide complete listings here, and it would be duplicative of the weekly listings in the Courier-Journal and LEO and the Louisville Music News' monthly music listings, in print and online, www.louisvillemusicnews.net.

EIGHTH NOTES

ONLINE REVIEW:

Miles Davis Quintet Live in Europe 1969, the Bootleg Series Vol. 2

Randy Klein:

What's Next (Jazzheads JH197, www.jazzheads.com)

Randy Klein wears many hats, including pianist, composer, record label president, advocate for jazz and more. He wrote the liner notes for his latest release, which features 12 original compositions performed in alternating duets with electric bassist Boris Kozlov and electric guitarist Alex Skolnick (whose own work has included the metal band Testament as well as jazz). Many of the tracks, like "Tea for Three," whisper with quiet, delicate authority, while others are more jaunty and upbeat, such as the opening ""Exalted Kingdom," which has something of a "Peanuts/Guaraldi" feel. "Dear Charles Mingus" is a very melodic ballad, reflecting its namesake's softer side. In the notes, Klein states that he had not played with either Kozlov or Skolnick before, which makes the subtle interplay of all the music on this album even more remarkable. He also says that this is the second in what he hopes will be a series of duet recordings featuring him with a variety of other musicians. I welcome the concept, and look forward to hearing them.

The Whammies

Play The Music of Steve Lacy (Driff Records 1201, www.driffrecords.com)

Steve Lacy was known for his uncompromising soprano saxophone work, which included musical reference points ranging from traditional New Orleans jazz to the avant-garde, with Thelonious Monk as a major influence. The Whammies consist of Jorrit Dijkstra -alto sax, lyricon, analog electronics, Pandelis Karayorgis piano, Jeb Bishop trombone, Nate McBride bass, Han Bennink drums, and guest: Mary Oliver violin, viola. This disc captures the knotty nature of Lacy's compositions, with sections of songs sometimes sounding atonal and free, while at other times jaunty and full of New Orleans swagger. For example, "Dutch Masters (to Spike Jones & The City Slickers)" is bluesy and swings even with the horns going outside. This is not music recommended for jazz newbies, but will prove rewarding for those who appreciate complex and provocative music.

Ernest Dawkins

Afro Straight(Delmark DE 5001, www.delmark.com)

Saxophonist Ernest Dawkins, together with trumpeter Corey Wilkes and percussionist Kahil El'Zabar's Ethnic Heritage Ensemble closed out the Jazz Education Network's Third Annual International Conference here in Louisville last January with their progressive jazz. On Afro Straight, Dawkins is joined by Wilkes, bassist Junius Paul, pianist Willerm Delisfort, drummer Isaiah Spencer, three different percussionist and, on "God Bless the Child," Ben Paterson on organ. Neil Tesser's liner notes discuss Dawkins' desire to make an album of modern standards and, in so many words, show to any doubters that he is equally capable of playing inside and outside. "God Bless …" is an excellent example, as Dawkins plays beautifully in a classic ballad style. On Coltrane's "Mr. PC" and "Central Park West," Dawkins reinterprets the compositions in his own style, not sounding like a Trane clone. "Mr. PC," in fact, makes especially good use of congas to add Latin flavor to the song. The percussionists percolate under his rendition of Wayne Shorter's "Footprints," while Dawkins' version of Shorter's "Juju" seems to fade just as the leader heads to more outside playing. All in all, Dawkins succeeds in deftly straddling the worlds of hard bop, Latin and progressive jazz on this release.

LOCAL JAZZ CONTACTS

With two fourteen-year-olds, it's hard to get out as much as I would like to hear music. As a result, picking and choosing which performances to catch sometimes require that I postpone seeing some of the local musicians and singers in order to not miss the one-night-stands from out-of-town artists. Invariably, I feel guilty, so in an effort to assuage my guilt and, more positively, to provide more exposure to our community of great local jazz performers, I am initiating this feature containing website and e-mail contact information. I am only including those artists who have given their permission to me; some have indicated a preference for website listing only; others have only e-mail addresses. If you wish to be included, drop a line to me with your permission and preferences, at mzkjr@yahoo.com. I reserve the right to edit and to exclude those whose connection to jazz is, in my opinion, tenuous; and this feature may end up online if it begins to take up too much space in print.

MIKE TRACY: www.michaeltracy.com, michael.tracy@insightbb.com, saxophonist and teacher Mike Tracy

UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE JAZZ PROGRAM: www.jazz.louisville.edu

BOBBY FALK: www.myspace.com/bobbyfalk, drummer and composer Bobby Falk;

WALKER & KAYS: www.walkerandkays.com, singer Jeanette Kays and guitarist Greg Walker;

JENNIFER LAULETTA: www.jenniferlauletta.com, singer Jennifer Lauletta;

JEFF SHERMAN: jeff.sherman@insightbb.com, guitarist Jeff Sherman;

RON JONES: www.ronjonesquartet.com, rjmusic@ronjonesquartet.com, saxophonist Ron Jones;

STEVE CREWS: www.jazzcrews.com, jazzcat@iglou.com, pianist Steve Crews.

CODA

1) I am always interested in your comments. Contact me at mzkjr@yahoo.com.